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Week Beginning 11 October 1997

18 October 1997

Richard Gough has stressed that no matter what happens with Paul Gascoigne, life will go on at Ibrox because no player is bigger than the club. He said, "I have spoken to Paul and given him my thoughts but that conversation will remain private. If Paul wants to leave then he'll leave, if not he'll be here for another three years. I hope he stays, but whatever happens the club will go on. Rangers will not grind to a halt if he leaves. No-one is bigger than Rangers and that shouldn't be forgotten."

Ally McCoist does not think that Paul Gascoigne will leave Rangers. He said, "I don't think he will be going anywhere. We're big enough boys to know that sometimes the press come up with stories when there are no stories there and hopefully that's the case here. It won't be upsetting him at all. He's a professional footballer."

Aston Villa manager Brian Little fuelled the speculation about Gascoigne yesterday when he said that the Midlands club hope to sign a player before the end of next week. He said, "I have never been put off by a player's reputation. Sometimes it's a challenge. If you decide to try to sign any player it's only after you have done your homework on him both as a man and a footballer. We have the basis of a very good team here, even though results have been disappointing so far this season. But whenever you have an avenue for doing something that will help to improve your team then you have to go down it quickly. If players I want to sign become available I will take that route and go all out to try and get them. I would think there is a possibility that we could make a major new signing by this time next week."

Middlesborough boss Brian Robson said, "my advice to Gazza would be to do what he enjoys. If he is enjoying his football then why not stay there? He does not have to move to prove himself for England. If he enjoys Scotland he should stay there. There is no reason to leave."

Richard Gough will take over the captain's armband from Brian Laudrup today after the Dane insisted he was the man for the job. Walter Smith said, "Richard will take over the captaincy again and Brian expressed that wish himself."

Erik Bo Andersen will return to his former club Aalborg today in a £900,000 move. His wife returned to Denmark a week ago and has said she will not return. Andersen said: "I have sold my house and my wife is back in Denmark. This week I have been forced to train with 15 year olds which just shows how high Rangers regard me. I have complained to Tommy Moller-Nielsen about my treatment, but there's not a lot he is able to do about it. To be honest, even if Rangers were to offer me a new contract and a guaranteed place in the first team I would still want to leave because I hate the place."

It now seems that Gary Bollan and Steven Boyack will not be joining St Johnstone after all. The Perth club cannot match the players' wage demands. Manager Paul Sturrock said, "the fact with Gary Bollan is that we just couldn't fit him in financially. We made an initial inquiry about Boyack but we won't be taking either any further."

The Coca Cola Cup could become an all British affair. Football League chairman David Sheepshanks yesterday suggested that a all British format could help resurrect interest in the Coca-Cola Cup in the wake of Liverpool's exciting UEFA Cup tie with Celtic. One suggestion is for the four semi-finalists from each country to play each other on a home and away knockout basis before the start of the season with the final at either Wembley or Hampden Park.

Sheepshanks said, "I think now is a good time to seriously discuss a British Cup. It has been raised several times before and always rejected. But now, given the excitement recently generated by the Celtic v Liverpool ties, perhaps some form of involvement between Scottish and English clubs should be considered." Scottish League secretary Peter Donald said, "If the English League come to us and make a proposal we would have to consider that because the opportunity to play against the top teams in England is very attractive. The problem in England is that whereas the English League control the Coca-Cola Cup, the clubs are now under the auspices of the Premier League."

17 October 1997

Paul Gascoigne does not want to leave Rangers. He told friends yesterday, "10 per cent of me wants to leave, 90 per cent of me wants to stay. The reaction of the fans to me on Saturday after all this speculation might well tip the balance." Gascoigne praised Rangers at a press conference in Rome last weekend. He said, "I feel my career has picked up since I joined Rangers. I have started to enjoy my football again. I feel comfortable at the club and more in control of myself."

David Murray said, "we have at no time promoted the sale of Paul Gascoigne, it started down south after England's game in Rome. I'd like to make it clear that we'd be delighted for Paul to stay but if he feels the time is right, for personal reasons, to move to England we won't stand in his way. If he decides to go now, then we will be happy to get a return on the money spent on him. "

"I did not give him a new contract six weeks ago to have him leave six weeks later but there is no point in holding on to an employee who doesn't want to work for you. I have spoken to Paul Gascoigne today and he is quite content to stay at Rangers and currently all his attentions are focused on playing for Rangers this weekend. He hasn't been happy with his standard of play so far this season but we saw the real Paul Gascoigne in the second half against Hibs and against Italy and after that game the speculation was bound to happen."

Walter Smith has spoken of his disappointment about the lack of respect shown in the media south of the border for Scottish football. He said, "We have received no official bids from any club for Paul. And, as I said earlier this week, Paul has not indicated to me that he wants to leave Rangers. Until such times as we receive an official bid for him, there's nothing more that can be said. It's disappointing that every time Paul comes back from an England game there seems to be speculation that he is leaving, and that is the case at the moment. We just have to put up with that and unless there is something more concrete there is not a great deal more we can say about it."

Crystal Palace have ruled themselves out of the running for Gascoigne's signature. Palace chairman Ron Noades said, "we spoke to people representing both Paul and the club and were offered him and another player for about £3m. Frankly, we didn't want the other player but were prepared to accept that to sign Paul. Now the money is up at £4million. We'd like Paul, but not at that price."

Kevin Keegan has warned Gascoigne to think very carefully about leaving Rangers. He said, "if he's going to move from Rangers, he has to think long and hard and make sure it's the right move for Paul Gascoigne. With the ability he's got he could be a fantastic signing for any club. Players like Paul don't grow on trees. He's shown in his last two performances for England what he can do. I don't know why people think he has to move from Rangers to enhance his career but wherever he goes he is sure to make a huge impact. Paul was my boot boy when I was at Newcastle and I've always followed his career with great interest. He's a better player than he was a boot boy."

Andy Goram looks set to return for Rangers clash with Dunfermline tomorrow. Theo Snelders needed seven stitches in a deep gash in his hand a fortnight ago. He picked up the wound before the Hibs game but kept it quiet. He has not been able to train since and won't be risked this weekend.

16 October 1997

Paul Gascoigne is once again being linked with a number of clubs south of the border. The Daily Record reports that he is set to rejoin Tottenham Hotspur for £5 million within the next week. Their boss Gerry Francis has decided to make a bid in an attempt to save his own job. An Ibrox insider is reported as saying "Gascoigne's on his way. The interest has been shown and now is the time to sell."

The Sun on the other hand reports that Gascoigne is set to join Aston Villa. Their chairman Doug Ellis is believed to have held talks with David Murray about a £4 million move. Villa manager Brian Little would not say anything about the proposed transfer. He said, "I have nothing to say about it. We don't talk about players who are under contract to other football clubs. It is not a policy of ours, never has been and never will be."

Chairman David Murray said, "we have had several clubs showing definite interest in signing him in the past few months, more so in the past few weeks. I don't think there is any great desire on his part to leave us. But if he wanted a change of direction in his life that would be up to him. If he came to us and said he wanted to go, he would be allowed to go."

Former Rangers defender Graham Roberts thinks that Gascoigne should leave. He said, "I think it is his family life more than anything which will make the difference. What could prompt him to want to return is the chance to come back and rebuild his personal life. The Premiership is the place Rangers should be, never mind Paul, and I feel it is going to be difficult for the club to attract a player of his calibre again. My feeling is Paul needs a change from a footballing point of view. He needs to be tested week-in week-out. He showed tremendous discipline in Rome to help England make France 98 and he remains a player of exceptional ability. What he perhaps should ask himself is whether Aston Villa are the right club for him. I would like to see him return to Tottenham. When Glenn Hoddle left the club it left a void he filled, but no-one has really replaced him and if I was the Tottenham manager I would break the bank for him."

Terry Butcher also thinks Gascoigne should return south. He said, "with the World Cup coming up and the way the youngsters have performed so well for England, Paul Gascoigne will have looked at that very seriously. The fact that Rangers have only got the league and the cup to go for will be a big factor. Last year was a big year for Rangers with the nine-in-a-row thing and beating Celtic, but I think this year has been a little bit of an anti-climax. Paul is 30 now and it's maybe a chance for him to move back to England, see the players he's going to play against in the World Cup and judge himself against them."

Neil Sullivan is being offered a massive new deal by Wimbledon as rumours grow that Rangers are interested in signing the Scotland 'keeper. Blackburn have already had a £2 million bid turned down by Wimbledon but the London club see Rangers as the main threat to their hopes of holding on to Sullivan. Wimbledon captain Vinny Jones said, "Neil has been shocked that the club suddenly wants him to sign a big contract. Everyone here has heard the Rangers rumour, but they haven't bid yet.

15 October 1997

Richard Gough officially signed a two year contract for Rangers yesterday and immediately set his sights on winning ten league titles in a row. He said, "I'd love to help Rangers to 10 in a row this season. I don't think there will be the same pressure as last year, when we were trying to equal Celtic's nine. I believe we will play freer football this year. This is a pleasant move for me. A lot of people thought I would come back one day, but I don't think they believed it would be just four months down the line. I had no hesitation in returning. I actually thought Walter Smith was kidding at first, but then he told me he was serious. It's a great opportunity for me and I intend to see the contract out."

"The European dimension is very important for this club. It was going to be a big season, but unfortunately that hasn't happened for Rangers. It's important we get on with the League now. And being knocked out of other competitions sometimes helps. I haven't seen many of Rangers' games this season, so I can't really comment. But it's not just the defence you should criticise. You have to look at the team as a whole too. As a team, we don't seem to be doing too well."

Gough revealed that one of his biggest regrets before leaving Ibrox was that his speedy exit to the US robbed him of an opportunity to play 400 times for Rangers. He said, "It was something that played on my mind when I had to leave. If I'd played against Dundee United and Hearts I would have made it to 400. I'm delighted I'm back to get it out of the way and hopefully clock up a good few more. I've been asked if I'm here with an eye on a coaching job but there is no hidden agenda. I'm just back to play."

David Murray meanwhile poured scorn on newspaper suggestions that Paul Gascoigne is about to leave Ibrox. He said, "this kind of reporting isn't unexpected, especially after Paul's performance against Italy. All I can say is that we have had no request, from any club or the player himself."

England's assistant manager John Gorman also denied that Glenn Hoddle was putting pressure on Gascoigne to move to the English Premiership. He said, "there has been no pressure on him and nor will there be. Who are we to tell a player which club to play for? He is playing superbly at the moment and we are delighted with him. He played a blinder for us on Saturday so why would he need to move? I have read in the papers that English clubs are watching him and clubs like Tottenham need players like Gascoigne."

14 October 1997

Richard Gough arrived back at Ibrox yesterday just five months after leaving the club. He took everyone by surprise when he joined the rest of the Rangers squad for a training session. Gough said he wanted to spend as much time as possible with his new team-mates before Saturday's match with Dunfermline.

Hearts manager Jim Jefferies has dismissed reports linking Rangers with a move for David Weir. He said, "we have had no contact with Rangers about David Weir and we are happy with that. There has been no approach from anybody and it is pure speculation. We don't want to sell David Weir or any of our players. We are building a side and we want to bring success to Hearts. I can't stop teams watching my players, but no approach has been made."

Peter Van Vossen's proposed move to Vitesse Arnhem has once again been put on ice. Manager Leo Beenhakker said, "we have agreed an arrangement with Peter. However, there is a problem with the fee Rangers want. We can't reach agreement and there are no discussions planned for the immediate future." Rangers have asked for £750,000 for the player with Vitesse only willing to pay £500,000.

According to the Daily Record today Paul Gascoigne is ready to ask Rangers for a transfer to England so he can spend more time with his wife and young son. Tottenham are believed to be willing to offer the Ibrox club £5 million for the wayward Englishman. Coach Glenn Hoddle said again at the weekend that Gascoigne should consider moving to the Premiership. It is rumoured that Rangers would be willing to sell the player if any club tables an offer of more than £4.5 million.

It is rumoured that AEK Athens will try to sign several Rangers players including Gordan Petric, Peter Van Vossen and Erik Bo Andersen after finally being bought over yesterday by ENIC, the company which invested £40 million at Ibrox earlier this year.

13 October 1997

Peter Van Vossen has agreed personal terms with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem. The only stumbling block may be the transfer fee with Rangers looking for around £750,000 for the player. Van Vossen has failed to make an impact in Scotland since he arrived in a swap deal from Istanbulspor two years ago.

12 October 1997

Rangers made a £1.2 million bid for Hearts defender David Weir only to be shocked by the Edinburgh clubs £2.3 million valuation of the player. Rangers are unlikely to meet Hearts asking price for a player who has only two Scotland caps. Sheffield Wednesday have also made enquiries. Weir cost Hearts £300,000 from Falkirk 15 months ago. He said, "there's been speculation that I am about to join Rangers since I was at Falkirk and I'm used to it. I can't control what happens so I don't worry any more."

Gordan Petric is a target for Nottingham Forest. The First Division side are desperate to sign an experienced defender are Petric fits that bill. The 28 year old is out of contract in the summer and may be sold for around £650,000.

Italian veteran Franco Baresi thinks Richard Gough has made the right decision to rejoin Rangers after his American adventure. Baresi is now a vice president at AC Milan after 19 years in the first team at the San Siro. He said, "I'm not surprised he is going back because football in America is not as intense as he is used to. I always knew he had the option of returning to Rangers and now he has taken it. He is a great player and he'll make a first class coach. Richard has vast experience in Europe and that's why Graeme Souness wanted him before it went wrong at Torino."

"Gough still has so much to offer, even at 35, because he is tremendously fit. I just look at the likes of Pietro Vierchowod who was still playing with Milan a year ago and is now starring with Verona in Serie B at 38. I'm not surprised Rangers haven't made an impact on Europe this season. They've bought in too many foreign players at the one time. I know Sergio and Lorenzo well and they will adapt in time. Gough can be the commander who helps them to be a success. One thing I do remember about him at Rangers, his presence was felt by all. That's why he is back."

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